Liv St Pierre is an indoor gardener and nature lover. After spending time studying screenwriting on the wild coasts of Cornwall, Liv decided to set her sights on bringing the abundant nature and slow way of living to the big city. With a penchant for nurturing the soul through your home, Liv strives to turn every home into a sanctuary of healing and introspection, allowing people everywhere to reconnect with nature as well as themselves.
What did you do for a living before earth & vine and what made you?
I guess I stumbled upon plants rather than searching for them, that tends to be the case with plants, it creeps up on people. You buy one and you find yourself nurturing something other than yourself and it's a great ritual to connect with something. You then buy another and you buy another, and then suddenly your house is full of plants. Then you wonder where this obsession comes from. I think it’s the energy you get from looking after plants, this is what makes people keep coming back. I worked as a receptionist and I do this part time and stare at a computer for 8 hours a day, and I deal with people's queries. Some people aren't very nice, some are lovely, but it is quite overwhelming. So I admire plants that allow me to slow down and be present in the moment, especially when the rest of my life is quite hectic.
Our mantra at earth & vine is Make home your happy place, so we go off to work and come home to where i feel the most comfortable. It allows me to be present and slow down a little bit. So that is where the whole plant company came from, and its also from moving back to London. The thing with Cornwall is that there isn’t much opportunity for my career, so we had to come back to London to make a decent living, but I wanted to bring the essence of Cornwall back with me and that involved bringing some of the nature, plants, the smells and the scents that reminding me of living in the countryside. I brought my boyfriend back with me as well so that helped :)
How did you feel when you moved back, how did you cope with London life?
I don’t think I was coping with it when I first transitioned back into London, I missed Cornwall very dearly and missed being able to be relaxed and enjoy life rather than being surrounded by so many noises and stories. It can be a bit overwhelming. It took me a few months before settling in, I think I cried a few times, I felt the energy was off, the vibe was off. But I was also hopeful that things would get better, and it did. It gave me the opportunity to start earth & vine. Working in London allowed me to save and put back into the business, which I wouldn’t have been able to in Cornwall. So it’s kinda a saving grace. A lot of our customers are actually people that tend to live in flats who don’t have access to gardens. I think they are reaching out and trying to reconnect with Nature, especially when they haven’t been able to go outside. At the beginning of lockdown they urged people to stay indoors, not even go into parks. You don’t have the space or freedom that you get in Cornwall. That is why people were bringing nature indoors and have that kinda sense of freedom in their own homes.
When did you start your business?
We started in the middle of the pandemic, but we actually had the idea before this in December 2019. Then we played around with the idea, but we were both quite busy and then the pandemic hit, and we suddenly had all this free time and we knew people needed it. People were looking for something and plants were what they were looking for. So off the back of that it enabled us to create this business and meet so many new people that are also discovering nature. Some for the very 1st time, some reconnecting with it. So the pandemic offered an opportunity to help people to reach out and question their priorities. Unlearning has been done and realising that there is more to life than going to work and coming home and watching TV. Reconnecting and creating a ritual with plants allows us to sit back and realize I am not living, I am existing.
I see that you don’t only sell plants you have aromatherapy as well. What is the story behind combining those two together in your business?
I think they marry well, plants on their own are great but when you add a different element like aromatherapy to mix, you create an atmosphere, an environment, a sanctuary where you feel at home. It’s all about making your space more customisable to you, so you can choose which plants you like and what smells you like. You can choose a scent around how you feel, if you don’t feel motivated you can add a couple of drops of orange essential oil to give a boost of mood, creativity and concentration.
What does serenity mean to you?
Serenity is comfort, being content and having this reservoir of inner peace and clarity. It is always there when things get rough or restless and turbulent. Serenity is having that space to be able to rationalise, having a moment of clarity and organisation of thoughts.
It allows you to have control when you may not have had control before.
How do you contract with your peace of mind and serenity after a hectic day?
So the first thing I do is water my plants. I normally have a little nook, but that has gone at the moment as we are redecorating. But watering my plants is very fulfilling, very slow. The plants only take as much water as they need, so getting that balance right and making sure they are getting everything they need allows me to step back and put aside everything that I don't want to think about. Stress, anxiety from the day and just be present with the plants.
If you are overthinking things, I don’t think you ever come up with a solution, you just make things worse. Allowing yourself to be removed from the situation, seeing it from an outside perspective allows you to sort your issues out more effectively and lets you realise in the grand scheme of things everything will be ok. It’s just one bad day.
Can you tell me about your usual daily routine?
I work full time, so it’s hard to balance work with my own business, but my days start at different times. Normally I start around 7 am, then I will check my plants, get ready, do my skin care routine, which is my favourite part of the day and night. Then I will go to work for 8 hrs, come home, do more work but I guess it doesn’t feel like work when you are working on your own business. You enjoy it. It helps that my business is surrounded by plants. People are always reaching out about their problems, how can I fix it or where should I put this plant. Answering queries, working on the website, drinking my tea, lighting my incense and listening to my music. At earth & vine, we have the luxury of being able to collaborate with a lot of London based small businesses. We have incense from this wonderful company called, Ume incenses. Incense for any kind of mood so I love to burn them. We have candles from a lady who creates Soy wax candles, which I love to burn. It’s also reaching out to other creators who hand craft things and who are good at their craft and makers.
Do you think building your business has expanded your community?
Completely, I think especially with the plant business there is an idea of it being a white centric millennial thing, even if you look at all the plant stores they tend to focus on white women, millennials so i’ve managed to be introduced to many women of colour who also love plants and get you out of the echo chamber where you assume that you are the only person that feels that way. So to be able to reach out to other women and men and speak to them about how they are feeling gives you a sense that you are not alone. I am still learning, I don’t know everything, so i talk to people that do know more than me and they can give me advice and I can give advice so there is a circular group. It’s a nice community.
Do you still remember your life and mentality before you had this business? What has changed?
I am still an anxious person, but I feel my anxiety has reduced since starting this business. I am coming out of my comfort zone more, I love the outdoors, I am a homebody, I am quite an introvert until you get to know me then I am quite an extrovert. I think after starting this business I have done things I would never have done before. Such as this interview, I don’t think I would have ever done this, reaching out and talking to strangers. I have social anxiety, so talking to people kinda freaks me out, but I have been doing this a lot now, so I have definitely come out of my shell and comfort zone. I am still battling with the feeling of imposter syndrome, and that someone else can be doing this better than me. It’s a daily struggle, but it’s a process. I do the website, I do the social media and packaging so there are lots of ways to improve yourself.
Do you drink tea, do you have some tea routine?
Every morning I have to have my green tea, I have to make time for it. Even if I have to wake earlier to drink my green tea, I will. Green tea in the morning, green tea in the afternoon, green tea at night. *laugh* Sometimes if I can't sleep it will be chamomile tea, but my staple is Green tea.
Is tea drinking to relax or a connection with others?
Tea is definitely personal for me, it's something I like to do by myself and you have to get it right. I have a little bit of honey in my tea, it’s a personal journey with tea. It can be collaborative, but I like me and tea together. *laugh*. If I can’t start my day with tea, I can guarantee the rest of my day will be awful.
I have a friend, unfortunately he is no longer with us, but I always think of tea when I think of him. Every time I went to his house, he would make Assam tea from scratch and he was very vigorous with it. Measurements were perfect, it had to be done the same every time. At that point in my life, I have never known anyone to have an appreciation for tea like that.
What are your top 3 tips for our readers who would like to pursue serene living?
Protect your peace, your peace is very important, from other people and from yourself. Do not allow anyone to disrupt that peace.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, a lot of anxiety and stress comes from overthinking. Get over worrying what other people are thinking of you.
Find what makes you happy and stick with it. Make time for it, if it’s yoga in the evening or drawing or going for a run, just find that and stick with it. It will help you now and the future.
Get more inspiration from Liv.